Courts in South Carolina ordered nearly $168,000 in fines and restitution to be paid in 2002, the result of the 914 cases of insurance fraud that were reported to Office of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Division last year. According to the South Carolina Insurance News Service, an additional $123,000 was paid in civil penalties and civil restitution.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Division, which recently released its 2002 Annual Report, began prosecuting insurance fraud cases in May of 1995. Since then, almost $47 million in insurance fraud has been reported and over $4 million collected, according to the report.
From the attorney general’s report, the SC Insurance News Service compiled a list of the state’s most outrageous insurance fraud cases for 2002:
· Gone Fishin’—A Lake Murray woman was convicted of Making a False Statement or Misrepresentation after working as a fishing guide on Lake Murray while collecting disability income. Investigators paid her to take them fishing for two days and videotaped her filleting fish, moving gas tanks, bending over to hook lines and using a fishing net. In her disability statements, she indicated that she was not working and not capable of working. She was sentenced to probation and restitution. This case was investigated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). (Video available)
· “I burned my car”—An Orangeburg County woman was convicted of burning her Chrysler vehicle. When interviewed by investigators she refused to state her name, but wrote on a piece of paper “I burned my car.” She was sentenced to probation and restitution.
· Thanks Mom—A Richland County woman was convicted of Presenting a False Claim for Payment when she unlawfully took money from State Farm Insurance Company that belonged to her daughter. Mother and daughter were in a car accident together. The daughter incurred medical bills as a minor and her mother cashed the check without paying the hospital. She was ordered to pay a fine and pay her daughter back. This case was investigated by SLED.
· Gone Clubbin’—A Columbia boy was convicted of insurance fraud after claiming his truck was stolen from a local club. He indicated that he was in the club all night. Later his truck was found burned. The Columbia Police Department conducted an investigation and found that his cell phone was used from the site of the truck fire just before the call to the fire department. He pled guilty and was ordered to probation and pay restitution.
· What’s He Gonna Drive Now?—A Marion County man was convicted of two counts of arson and two counts of insurance fraud. He burned his personal Chevy truck and later his semi which was his business vehicle. He was sentenced to probation and restitution. SLED Arson Division and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case.
· Achin’ or Fakin’—A local Columbia businessman was convicted of 4 counts of Making a False Statement or Misrepresentation. He submitted fraudulent Workers’ Compensation Certificates to several businesses. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission investigated these incidents. He was sentenced to probation.
· Keep it in the Family—Three family members in Dillon County pled guilty to Burning Personal Property with the Intent to Defraud an Insurance Company after a 4th person called the insurance company and told them the family burned their car. The family stated they did not want to keep their car. They claimed that it was stolen and then it was recovered burned. After the call, an investigation by SLED was conducted and the family admitted to burning the car. They were all ordered to pay restitution and placed on probation.
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